Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Cameron's Promises

A week or so ago, Cameron "promised" that if the Tories won the next General Election, he would renegotiate the basis of our membership with the EU, following which we would have an IN/OUT referendum on the EU.
Now today we have another "promise", that if the Tories win the next General Election, he will ensure that Defence spending is increased each year.
Apart from the fact that UKIP has already said the same, both promises, when they come from Cameron are totally meaningless as far as I am concerned.
With the first one, what happens if the EU won't renegotiate? The referendum seems conditional upon renegotiation, so no renegotiation, no referendum.
Then with defence spending, most departmental budgets increase on an annual basis, if only to allow for inflation. But there was no indication as by how much the defence budget might increase and whilst an amount of less than inflation could still technically be called an increase, it would in fact be a reduction in real terms.
The moral in the case of Cameron's promises is to look at them very carefully, because, like his "cast iron guarantee" of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, he always leaves himself a way out.
More worrying are the things he doesn't promise, such as "Gay Marriage" where he distinctly said before the election that it was not under consideration.
Do you get the impression that I don't trust Cameron? If so, you're quite right!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

UK Involvement in Mali

It was just a fortnight ago  when I wrote about our providing transport planes to assist the French in Mali and predicted that it wouldn't be long before we had troops on the ground.
Today the Telegraph reports that we are to provide 300 troops to help in Mali and adjacent countries. Whether this is in addition to the 70 Service personnel sent to Senegal who are operating a Sentinel spy plane and the 20 others who are operating the C-17 transport is unclear,  Nevertheless it is a significant increase in our involvement in the area.
The troops, we are told, will only be involved in training roles, and in particular helping with the training of soldiers from Nigeria and Ghana, which are supplying support to the Malian government. Let us hope we have no incidents, as in Afghanistan, of the troops under training shooting their instructors.
Certainly ensuring stability in this part of North Africa is in our interests, which is far more than can be claimed for our presence in Afghanistan, but I believe that our government needs to "come clean" about our present, and likely future involvement. Certainly there should be a Parliamentary debate in the near future.

In a related matter, it seems that BP was warned by the Algerian authorities that a relative of an al-Qaeda leader worked in a senior position in a company that provided transport at the In Amenas site,  It is know however that the Algerian Intelligence Services are not particularly scrupulous about how they obtain their information and our Intelligence Services have been told not to use information which may have been obtained by torture. Could political correctness or human rights consideration have prevented the information being used by BP?

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Today's Telegraph tells us that
"Under plans to be announced by ministers next week people will only be able to look after children in nurseries if they have a good GCSE in English and Maths".

 It looks as if politicians are going to fall into the same trap with child minders at nurseries as they have with many nurses in hospitals. The basic requirement of any carer is that they must care, and enjoy caring for people, and this is nowhere more important than in a nursery where the young children require lots of attention.
My grandson, now just turned four, has attended a very nice nursery for three days a week since he was about a year old and thoroughly enjoys it. The children are divided into two groups, roughly those up to about three years old, and those who are above that until they go to school. There is an older woman in charge of each group whom I assume is British, but the rest of the carers seem to be in their twenties and come mainly from eastern Europe. Nevertheless, they all speak good English and really seem to care for the children that they are looking after.  I've listened to them talking to the children and reading stories and you couldn't fault them.
No doubt they are probably all on the minimum wage, but obviously feel they are better of here than at home. However what will happen when the regulations require them to have GCSEs in English and Maths. In spite of the fact that the carers seem to speak better English than many of the locals, and perhaps even have a qualification in our language from their own country, will they be acceptable? What Maths knowledge is required for a four year old? My grandson can count up to about fifty, and can add together any two numbers up to six without counting on his fingers (the result of playing snakes and ladders with two dice). He knows the letters of the alphabet by name and also phonetically, what more do you expect of a child of that age? More important, they seem to have taught him basic manners, he rarely forgets to say "please" or "thank  you", he sits still at the table whilst eating and now drinks out of a ordinary cup.
The government proposals will undoubtedly increase costs, as most pupils who get GCSEs in subjects like English and Maths invariably go on to do "A" levels and will be looking for more than the minimum rate of pay. They will also probably not like the hours of work as the nursery is open from about 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, although the staff do seem to do some form of shift work. So we have proposals that will undoubtedly increase costs whilst at the same time the government is claiming that they want to reduce the costs of care to the families.
Personally, I'd rather have unqualified people who care than qualified people who consider menial tasks (like changing a baby's nappy) beneath them. Even more so since I read in this morning's paper that a nurse at a hospital had taped a dummy into a baby's mouth to stop him crying. That is a qualified carer!
Just one snag. The other day when junior was with us, he knocked his drink off the table which went everywhere. He came out with what sounded like an expletive, and I asked him what he had said. The response "It's what Katrina said yesterday when she tripped over a toy and dropped her cup of tea". Whoops! But then perhaps it's better to learn a rude word in Slovakian or Polish than in English.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Repatriating Power from the EU

There is a lot of talk about the repatriation of powers from the EU as being part of any negotiations on Britain's EU membership, and I'm quite sure that the government would like to keep this repatriation in very general terms rather than being specific. However, without a list of those powers that ought to be repatriated to this country and the details of the results of the negotiations on an item by item basis, it will be impossible for the public to determine the success or otherwise of the negotiations. Without such detail, the government are bound to claim the negotiations were successful as no-one has ever heard of a British Government having unsuccessful negotiations (see the picture in my previous blog!)

I would propose a few items which should be on the list, and by which I will judge the outcome of Cameron's talks.
  1. We have full control of our boarders and can decide who is allowed entry into our country (and whom we throw out).
  2. Our Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for all matters in this country, not the European Court (I know this is not strictly EU, but the European Court is bound up with the EU).
  3. Companies and manufacturers only have to meet EU rules for their products/services when dealing or selling to the EU.
  4. It is for our companies/organisations to agree with the trade unions/individuals what hours are worked, not have them imposed by a directive from the EU.
  5. The financing of this country and its budget is our business and no-one else's.
  6. We can trade with whom we like without EU interference and bi-laterally agree any tariffs (An African leader said recently that his country does not need aid, just fair access to the European markets)
  7. Decisions on Green matters (waste disposal, sustainable energy, etc)  are ours alone.
  8. Removal of clauses from the treaties which aim to secure ever closer political integration within the EU.
I could go on a lot further, and I'm sure readers will have their own ideas as to items which should be added to the list.
The advantage such an approach is that when Cameron says we have agreement, we will be able to run down the list, tick of the items that have been agreed and make our own assessment of the outcome.
But I suspect all that Cameron will get is something like a change in the rules relating to the curvature of bananas or the minimum size of apples which may be sold in supermarkets !

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cameron's Speech

At last we have the long awaited speech outlining Cameron's position towards the EU. Made at 8am yesterday morning, I wasn't up in time to watch it.
Nevertheless, having read the various reports and blogs, and listened to the views of both Labour and UKIP on television, I must admit that I'm not much wiser. To me it appeared to be one of those speeches which seems to offer something to everybody, but when closely examined, actually offers nothing.

The whole speech seems to be a blatant attempt to win the next election as everything mentioned is conditional upon the Conservatives being re-elected. Whilst he doesn't mention UKIP, the whole thing seems to ba an attempt to get the "fruitcakes and nutters" back into the Tory fold. In effect he was saying to people like myself, "UKIP don't have a hope in hell of winning the next election, so the only way that you will get a referendum is to vote Tory". Whilst this might seem a valid argument at the moment as Milliband is against a referendum, I'm sure that if the Tories enter the election campaign promising a referendum, Labour will do likewise.

As  understand the situation, Cameron is saying that if he wins the next election (and that's a very big "if"), he will take that as a mandate to renegotiate our relationship with the EU, and following these negotiations, he will put the result to a referendum at which he will campaign for a "yes" vote. There is absolutely no indication as to the matters which would be subject to re-negotiation or what outcome he would be seeking.

For me, the best assessment of his speech, albeit from a UKIP point of view, is by Alexandra Swann in her blog for the Telegraph (here) in which she concludes that it is "waffle, platitudes and vague promises".  Milliband's response that the uncertainty brought about by this speech is damaging to industry and investment is probably the most stupid of all as he could call for a referendum at any time and would probably get sufficient support from the Tory Eurosceptics to get it through parliament..
Meanwhile, I have this vision of Cameron returning from the EU negotiations, waving a piece of paper and proclaiming that we have "Europe in our time".

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Britain's Talent Drain

Reading this headline "Two million quit Britain in 'talent drain' " in yesterday's Daily Telegraph,  my first reaction was "and look at what we've got in exchange". However, I then began to think about the number of people that I knew whose families have left this country.

I already aware that one of our bell-ringers had his son & daughter-in-law in Boston Mass. They were both doctors and had had difficulty finding suitable NHS posts in the UK, resulting in their deciding to emigrate.
Then in the course of my daily walk, I spoke to an elderly widow who lives about a dozen doors further down the street, and enquired about her Christmas. She told me that as all her family were now abroad, the neighbours had kindly invited her in for Christmas Day. But she said that her American granddaughter would be coming over to stay with her for a few months as part of her university studies, and then she would be going back with her for a long holiday. Surprisingly, I was told something very similar by a bell-ringer at another local tower recently. Here, another widow said that this wasn't a good time of the year for travel, but she would be going to visit her family in Seattle in the spring for a month or so.
These were just three of the people that I knew with family abroad, Then I recalled that a member of my Retired Staff Association has adult children in the US, Malaysia and Australia and is constantly travelling between them, and that another member had at last got an Australian residence permit to join his son in Perth. Thinking about the Computer Club, I remembered that one member had mentioned a son in New Zealand, whilst another has family in Beijing (although I doubt that this is permanent).

But this is not all, I am also aware of a number of acquaintances who have grandchildren at Universities abroad, As one grandparent said to me, "He'll be looking for a job in the world market, so his aim was to find a University that is recognised world-wide". Apparently, Vancouver is the top place to study Oceanography. So even at that stage their grandson is thinking of leaving Britain.

Then yesterday, before I had read the Telegraph article, we had been discussing holidays with our younger daughter and she mentioned that they were considering visiting one of her husband's cousins in Australia this year. The reason?  Her husband's employers are currently evaluating the pros and cons of a subsidiary in Australia and if it goes ahead, they would have the opportunity of moving there.. So they want to see if they like the country and in particular find out how their education system compares with that here.

The important thing about all these people who have emigrated is that they are all professionals such as doctors, scientists and engineers, the very people that the country can least afford to loose. But when even members of the younger generation are suggesting that they will be seeking employment in the world market and are tailoring their education accordingly, it seems to me that the country has a major problem. The politicians should be very concerned about what is happening as the people who are leaving are those we most need to help this country get back to its former glory.

Meanwhile I must remember to get the address of my erstwhile colleague in Australia so that I can find out what hoops he had to go through to get his residence permit, just in case! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Crusades

It must have been about fifty years ago when I was at a formal gathering and chatting to an Australian Army Officer of about my age who was attending the military School of Languages..
At that time, the iron curtain was still in place and the Chinese nation was beginning to flex its muscles militarily, leading to a feeling that world war might not be far away.. A joke of the day for those learning languages was that optimists learnt Russian and that pessimists learnt Chinese. This officer said to me that he thought both camps were wrong, and whilst we might have some smaller localised conflicts, in his view WW3 would be a re-run of the Crusades.
Like me, he will have been long retired, and if he is still around, he might get some grim satisfaction from David Cameron's warning that "Britain and the West face a decades-long battle against Islamist terrorism in North Africa."

In fact there was a series of Crusades, starting in 1071 when the Byzantine army was defeated by Turkish Muslims with the result that Christians were denied access to Jerusalem. This led to a series of Crusades against the Muslims, these occurring mainly between 1095 and 1291, a period of some 200 years. It was not one continuous war, but a long series of battles with various Muslim leaders trying to take or re-take territory in different parts of the Middle East.
Reading about the crusades, one is struck by the similarity with the events taking place now, with Christianity being driven out of the Middle and Near East by Muslim forces. There are no decisive battles that could be called a victory, and when defeated, the Islamic forces just move their efforts elsewhere, in which could end up as a long running conflict

Regrettably, I think that for once David Cameron is right. We clearly need to stop the spread of Islamic terrorism before it becomes a genuine threat to this country. In many ways, what happened in Algeria and what is happening in Mali, Sudan, Somaliland and Northern Nigeria, presents a far greater threat to this country than Sadam or Afghanistan ever did. Don't forget that much of the Iberian peninsular was occupied by the Moors for centuries, and they still regard it as their territory.

Time will tell what happens, but I don't think any of us alive today will see the resolution of this conflict, if indeed it is ever resolved.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Panic in the Supermarkets

According to the television there was "panic buying" in the supermarkets yesterday ahead of the forecast snow, and that many of the shelves were bare.. Women were shown with their trolleys stacked high with their purchases, something that can be seen almost any day if one has patience.
Panic or Gross Exaggeration?
The latter I suspect like everything these days from the media and the authorities.
The Met Office predicted snow which would probably be up to 30 cm deep (it sounds far worse in cm than inches) and advised that no-one should go out on Friday unless absolutely necessary. So, as we normally do our main weekly shopping at the local supermarket on a Friday, because it ensures that we have fresh vegetables over the weekend, we decided that in view of the forecast we would go yesterday. Panic? No way, just simple prudence. We were just doing what we had been told, avoiding going out today. And of course some of the shelves were bare, particularly in the bakery, something that might reasonably be expected even if only half the normal Friday shoppers arrived a day early.
Of course it wouldn't make nearly such good headlines to announce that
"Prudent shoppers were getting in their weekend supplies early in view of the forecast snow".

Snow has just started to fall more heavily here, we probably have about an inch by now, but cars seem to be managing our un-gritted street without problems. I've just noted a group of children from the secondary school walk past the house, presumably sent home on safety grounds.

England isn't what it was in my youth, I can just about remember the winter of 1940 when the outside pump for our water supplies froze as did the outside toilet, Even so I still had to walk to school, the county was at war and we weren't going to let a bit of snow stop us from getting on with it.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

That Gas Plant in Algeria

Since the attack on the gas plant in Algeria and the taking of some British hostages, Downing Street seems to have gone into a state of panic.
We have had two meetings today of COBRA, the emergency committee, Cameron has postponed his speech on the EU and Hague is cutting his visit to Australia short and flying back.
All for what?
There is absolutely nothing they can do about the situation. If there was a hostage situation in this country involving foreign nationals, I'm sure that those charged with resolving the situation wouldn't be happy to receive continuous "advice" from foreign governments.
As it is, I'm inclined to believe that the Algerians know best how to deal with the matter; they probably have a far greater understanding of the thinking and likely actions of the terrorists than any "expert" in this country. Regrettably perhaps, they don't place such a high value on life as we do, but on the other hand neither do the terrorists who have no fear of being killed as their religion teaches them that they will go to paradise. It is unlikely that negotiations with them would even reach first base, let alone a satisfactory conclusion.
We don't know why the Algerians launched an all out attack, no doubt we will discover in due course, but with reports of explosions from the site, they could have been concerned that the whole plant would be destroyed along with the hostages. The Algerians were best placed to understand the minds of those involved and probably acted accordingly.

Meanwhile what should COBRA do? Well, a large percentage of our natural gas is imported from Algeria. This is the real crisis, this attack could lead to the loss of our supplies and make us even more heavily dependent on Russian gas. The real emergency is our gas supplies, in the absence of which, this country could grind to a halt in weeks if not days. They should get together all those involved in fracking and clear the way for a massive effort to start getting our own gas out of the ground in the shortest possible time. That is the real emergency, the possible loss of gas supplies, not the hostages about which, regrettably, we can do absolutely nothing.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Trade with the EU

Douglas Carswell MP makes a very good point in his blog today which is well worth repeating.

"Last week, Honda announced it was laying off 800 workers. Why? Because the Honda plant produces almost exclusively for the European market, and the European market in car sales declined by 7 percent last year.
"This week, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was hiring 800 workers. It produces for markets in America, Asia and the Middle East."

As he says, "Nothing could better illustrate how our future prosperity lies in trading with the wider world, not just the declining Eurozone"

This is something that should be pointed out every time the "experts" talk about  the loss of trade that will occur if we leave the EU.

Afterthought:  I wonder if these experts who are full of doom and gloom about what will happen if we leave the EU are the same experts who predicted disaster if we failed to join the Euro. Yes they were right about disaster, but it was for the Eurozone, not us.

Obama Knows Best!

A few days ago, Obama, through the medium of one of his ambassadors, lectured Britain on the dangers of us leaving the EU.  (here)
Today, White House officials have told a US journalist that the Israeli Prime Minister doesn't know what is good for Israel.  (here).
I wonder which is the next country to be told how to run their affairs by this self-proclaimed expert who can't seem to get his own country's finances under control.  But then, like Tony Blair, he probably has no idea what to do about the situation at home, and its so much more interesting dabbling in other people's affairs.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Mali - Update

Earlier today I suggested that our involvement in Mali would not be confined to just two RAF aircraft.
Far sooner than expected, The Telegraph reports that 'Britain is "committed to supporting" a European Union training mission that would put up to 500 European troops into Mali within weeks' and that 'David Cameron said that the growing strength of Islamist groups in Mali could have direct consequences for British national security'.
This is rapidly beginning to look like Afghanistan all over again.

Mali, here we come.

The RAF is using two transport aircraft to assist the French in moving troops to Mali to fight insurgents. We are assured by the government that no UK ground troops will be involved, although it has subsequently became clear that some RAF ground crew will be deployed to facilitate the flights. Thus the escalation of our involvement begins; the ground crews will need accommodation and supplies, then they will need defending against the insurgents, and then as "attack is the best means of defence" combat troops could be deployed.
Now, it happens that I believe that the French are doing the right thing, they are. after all, the ex-colonial power, and have some moral responsibility in the area. But why should we get involved as this will only give the extremists further cause to hate this country? Haven't we learnt anything from our  involvement in Afghanistan? How long will it be before we are bringing back the bodies of British Servicemen from Mali as well as Afghanistan?
One might also ask why the French didn't ask the US for assistance. Soon after Obama was originally elected he made it clear the the "special relationship" with Britain was no longer important and that he considered the French to be his main ally in Europe. Surely the US would rush to assist their best friend, especially as it would help to hold back the cause of militant Islamism.

I also wonder what help we would get from the French if push becomes shove over the Falklands - would they be prepared to assist us with any naval vessels?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Is Cameron Stupid - Part 2 - UKIP

There is no doubt in my mind that UKIP can stop the Tories winning the next General Election. I'm not so naive as to believe they will get many, if any, Parliamentary seats, but I do believe that they are capable of attracting enough votes to let Labour gain a majority. We have seen what UKIP is achieving in by-elections. At the Corby election, UKIP came third, well ahead of the LibDems, and their vote was almost equal to Labour's majority over the Tories.
Even so, Cameron persists in treating UKIP with contempt having stated and re-affirmed his belief that UKIP members are mostly "closet racists". He has also referred to them as "nutters and fruitcakes" which is hardly likely to endear UKIP members to the Tories. On the BBC, a few days ago he repeated his claim that UKIP members were "pretty odd" people.

The claim by the Tories that UKIP's position in the polls is to be expected at mid-term in the election cycle, may to some extent be true, but this was always said about the LibDems who in due course gained seats. This was in spite of Tory claims that voting for them would let Labour in. No doubt Cameron will take the same view of UKIP. The elections for the European Parliament come before the General Election, and if UKIP does better here than it did last time, a lot of people may decide that they would not be wasting their vote if the supported UKIP in the subsequent General Election.

But the stupidity of Cameron is to continue attacking UKIP as those ex-Tory voters who now support UKIP are unlikely to be brought back into the fold by such an approach, indeed I believe it would harden their attitudes.  This is especially so as UKIP are taking on-board a number of policies which have been discarded by the Tories in their rush to gain the "centre ground", and this is attractive to disillusioned Tories, particularly in the shires. If Cameron had any sense, he would face the fact that UKIP could hold the keys to Downing Street at the next election and that if the Tories are to win, he will need to come to some accommodation with Nigel Farrage, something which now seems totally impossible.

And what is "odd" about UKIP? Well one huge "oddity" is that they have some policies which they actually stick to, and don't change every five minutes following some poll or report from a focus group. It has a party leader who has beliefs, unlike the other parties whose beliefs vary according to the direction of the wind. Now that is very odd!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Is Cameron Stupid? Part 1 - Gay Marriage.

From the point of view of many Tories, the answer to this question is surely "Yes". Any thinking politician tries to look ahead and envisage the effect of his ideas before speaking out. Cameron seems to come up with what sems to be a god idea and speaks out without giving it any real thought.
Take for example gay "marriage". Whilst there are arguments as to the number of gays in the UK population, the The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says 480,000 (1%) consider themselves gay or lesbian, and 245,000 (0.5%) bisexual. (BBC News, Sept 2010). Presumably the proposals only apply to the first group unless the latter will be allowed two partners, one of each sex!  Of this 1% of the population, how many would be interested in gay "marriage"? Personally, I suspect, just a few activists and publicity seekers who feel that they need to prove something. Personally, I am acquainted with two gay couples, neither couple have even entered into a civil partnership, so "marriage" would seem to be of little interest to them.
But, back to Cameron's stupidity.  How many votes does he expect to gain from this?  He of course would say he is not doing it for votes, but because it is "the right thing to do" but if you believe that, you'll believe anything. Meanwhile, I am aware of a number of local churchgoers who have made it clear. in public, that if the Tories introduce this measure,  they will never vote Tory again.
Perhaps Cameron believes the activists' claim that gays are 10% or maybe 15%  (pick your own figure) of the population, and that he will "pick up" their votes, but with the ONS suggesting
 that it is 1%, of which a proportion would vote Tory anyway, it seems to me that statistically he is onto a looser however you look at the maths. But it isn't just the maths here that matters, it seems that Cameron doesn't even care about the split that it will cause in his party.

Where do I stand on this issue?  I take the view that gay "marriage" is impossible if the word "marriage" is to retain the meaning it has had for thousands of years in most languages. There appears to be no language where, until recent years, the word "marriage" has meant other than the joining of two people, one male and one female in what is intended to be a permanent partnership with the intention of having a family. I reluctantly accepted the concept of civil partnerships, as there are valid arguments in favour to ensure equality in areas such as pensions and the like, but "Gay marriage" adds nothing to homosexuals' rights except a word.

Afterthought. With all the unmarried couples bringing up children these days, and the even larger number of couples just living together, I find we are in the strange position where those who can get married don't want to do so, whilst those who can't, do !

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

"I didn't think ........"

"But I didn't think that . . . . . . . . "
How often do you hear the phrase these days? To me it seems that hardly a day passes without hearing someone say it on television or reading about someone who said it in the newspaper.

Typical in recent weeks were the two Australian DJs who phoned the King Edward VII Hospital, "We didn't think that we'd actually get through . . . . . . ".  Or the interviewer who passed a list of alleged paedophiles to David Cameron, "I didn't think that anyone would be able to read it . . . . . ". The list seems endless, maybe a slight variation of the words, but always the same general idea.

It is time people learnt that "not thinking" is not a valid excuse for doing something stupid. Our maker provided us with brains and the general idea is that we should use them at all times! Certainly I was taught from a very young age (when I burnt my hand in the open fire) to think before doing anything and as a result I rarely do anything significant on impulse. This of course means that in this modern era that I am terribly dull, if not worse. It means, of course, that I could never have gone into politics, as, were I confronted by an interviewer with a difficult question, my reaction would be that I would need to think about it before replying!

What has brought these thoughts to mind is a piece in today's Telegraph reporting that students have been warned that on-line boasts could harm their job prospects. Seemingly, there are "Student Confession" web pages which accept anonymous details of various exploits. But no-one seems to know who runs these, and although submissions are anonymous, it would take little effort by the equally anonymous administrator to locate their source and use the information elsewhere.
The Swansea University Registrar, and the Students' Union President have actually had to warn students that "Irresponsible use of social media can damage their future employment prospects as companies are increasingly searching for information on job applicants."  The question that I ask myself is how can any student possess so little common sense as to boast about his exploits on a public forum where they will be stored away for the indefinite future? Particularly one with an anonymous administrator who might have an idea about future blackmail? How did they get into University in the first place?
The answer, is as usual these days, they just don't think.

This of course follow hot on the heals of the report on television about young teenage girls sending naked photos of themselves to boyfriends, again apparently quite common practice. Do none of them think about what might happen in twenty or so years when they have got into, say, a newsworthy occupation, and an ex-boyfriend produces these photos for sale to the media? Alternatively, have the boys thought about the long term implications of keeping these pictures, which when they are in their twenties could suddenly become indecent images of under aged children?

Then of course there is Facebook, where again, judging by some pages that my daughter has shown me, people simply post things without any thought. Perhaps the younger generation might reflect that in America, prospective employers are asking applicants for access to their Facebook pages and take the attitude that refusal means that the candidate has something to hide!

What we need is a lot more good old fashioned reticence where people keep themselves to themselves and don't reveal personal details to anyone without good reason, but in these days of instant social networking, I suppose that is too much to ask.